Updated November 1st
Please note I have had to change my email address , which now is laurie.manser@gmail.com please use  this if you wish to contact me.
I do hope that some of the hints will be of use to you, I can only say what I do and why I do it
 as , there is not a right or wrong way of doing things in gardening .
I did write a small book about my life from a garden boy in the 40's and we sold it when I did my "Memory" talk, we donated 50p per book to the British Heart Foundation who received over £1000.00 as a result. I do not get it printed now but on the right is a link by which you can download it to read.
I have been asked to put my talk on to a disc for those who have been unable to hear it, I have done this and a few discs are available ,please email me for details.
At the bottom of this page if you click on "older posts" there are more hints

Garden Hints for November

Anyone who has heavy clay soil will need to get their garden dug and left with a  rough surface so that the frost can help break the si up during the winter. I find myself that if I dug now the soil will settle again and need digging again in the spring.  There are a number of people who now dig and spread manure on the surface to let the worms etc., take it down, I myself like to dig it in as I go but the choice as with all gardening is yours.
Parsnips, leeks and the like can be left in the ground until needed as can carrots but do be aware of slugs.
The old leaves on brussel sprouts and kale can be removed and composted rather than left to make nice places for the slugs to shelter.
Autumn onion sets and garlic should have been planted by now but if the weather is reasonable you are not too late.
If you suffer with white rot in you onions you might like to try what I have been doing. After I lift my crop I spread garlic powder over the surface to kill any spores left behind. I was losing my crop each year but this year I was able to show a few at the local show with some success. Full details are on my blog  lauriemansersgardenhints. blogspot.com.
I am wondering  if the smell of the garlic might help keep the badgers away as they have destroyed so much this year.
Once the dahlias have been hit by the frost and the tops are blackened you can cut them down to about 6 inches and lift the tubers. The are many ways and ideas about storing them so I will say what I have done for many years and you can choose what you  want to do. I lift the tubers and remove what soil comes away easily, I do not wash them or treat with powders. I put them under the staging in the greenhouse upside down. This allows any water to drain away, I put bubble film between them and the glass. They stay there until I want them in the spring either for getting cuttings or to split up to re plant. 
Any tulips not already planted should be put in without delay.
Some people want to "put their garden to bed" by clearing all leaves cutting back all the top foliage on the herbaceous plants etc. Myself I like to leave some of this until  the spring as it protects the tops of the plants during severe weather.
It is not too late to plant fruit canes for next year, I like to cut them fairly hard so that they do not try and crop in the first year but have a chance to establish themselves.

2018 Sweetpeas

I sowed my sweetpeas on October 8th as I have done for many years, I have good germination 48 sedlings out of 50 seeds. I think there might be one or two to come up yet. They are looking rather drawn as with no garden or greenhouse I am very limited as to where to put them. I must single them out within a few days.
I have just singled the swwet peas into root trainers, there are 51 from 50 puechased seeds. They always allow one or two extras. 

Sweet peas

Thse are my first bunch picked 25th May which is right as I usually pick chelsea week.
I went to my allotment this morning to check after hard frost. pleased to see sweet peas still looking good. They were sown on 8th October last year.

Potatoes ready for planting after at least ten weeks chitting, I will plant them on the flat so that I ahve plenty of soil for earthig up  and the potatoes grow through the centre of the ridge rater than come out of the side.

more onion news

More pictures to show the progress pf my onion sets. Top two taken 14th April

Onion sets just starting to  show, I plant well down in the soil so that no trouble with birds, having got rid of white rot I get a good crop.

Onion 2016


I am putting these pictures onto my website to show the effect of using garlic powder for white rot. When I first took over this plot I suffered a complete loss of my onion crop due to white rot, I have treated this area with garlic powder and this year they really do look good. I just need some sun to help ripen them up.

Sweet peas

It has been a bad year for me with sweet peas, I decided to try saving my own seed last year and this has been very reasonable but when I planted the plants back in March ,  the very next day we had storm Katie. This almost blew them out of the ground but enough survived to amke  best part of a row. As they came into flower I had bud drop plus a spell in hospital, this meant I had to let the plants go for about a week meaning bent stems. However when show day came I managed one vase of ten, these were good enough to bet  best in show so I still hold the cup which I forst won 42 years ago. I have not had it every year but will keep trying.

Some of my seedling daffodils

These are 3 of my seedlings that I have registered and named over the years. I have had prizes at London shows with them including "Best" in section with Ann's Blush. We also have Molly Ann named after our grand daugther
Top bloom Ann's White , bottom left Ann's Cream.and bottom right Ann.s Blush

Broad Beans 2016

Thess last two photos were taken on May 8th, the row is not complete as I lost a few in the bad storm but should get a good crop before the blackfly start
In past years I have sown my Aquadulce broad beans direct in the round in Oct/Nov but this year as the ground was very wet and in the past I have lost some to the mice etc. I have tried starting them in a tray. I have no greenhouse now so they have been in a cold frame. They are now ready for planting out and look quite good.

broad beans 2014/15

Broad Beans now in flower , they came through the winter very well.
Some of my Aqaudulce broadbeans , I sow in late October as they are a good hardy variety to stand the winter.  Sometimes they get damaged with servere frost but even then they will break at soil level.

Had some sucess at our show  Saturday April 11th. Many varieties were not out but using those that were I won 4 trophies along with 10 first prizes. I am very pleased as they are all grown on my allottment now having lost our agrden when we moved from the tied house. The pink trumpet is called Pink Silk.

Daphne in bloom , grown from seed

Daphne in bloom , grown from  seed

Top picture shows ready to plant early March

Now ready to plant early March

There seems to be a lot of chat about if we should chit seed potatoes ready to plant or not. I always say there are  many different ways of doing things in gardening, but just looking at the alterantives. If you do not  chit you have to  leave the poatoes in the bag which will give you  long weak shoots whereas the shoots are much better if laid  out, so I chit as in the photos.  I bought these just before  Christmas and they will not be planted for some long time yet. The larger ones will be cut when I plant them.

Onion White rot

I have mentioned before about having white rot in my onions and treating the soil with garlic powder.
I still had white rot badly this year (2014) but reading that others seemed to have more success I thought I would try once more. I am not sure where I got the garlic powder last year but when I got some more this year as used for horses it smelt a lot stronger than last years, so I have once more treaeted the soil and will see what happens next year.

Black Berries and sweet peas

I did post a picture of the large flowers on my blackberry canes , now I have started picking some very nice large blackberries
A fortnight ago I had some success with my sweet peas that I now grow on the allotment, four first prizes with one cup, one medal and a certificate.

Had to thin some of my gooseberries this morning, this is their first year but the branches were touching the ground. I did buy from a  fruit nursery so that they were lifted one day and I planted them with a little "root grow" the next day.

Spring Show 2014

We managed to put a few entries into the LGA show, Ann got best flower arrangemant and I got the Henry Reader Cup for the best vase of trumpets. I did stage a vase of 3 "MollyAnn" but only got a second.

"Molly Ann" a variety that we have registered with the RHS and Daffodil Society named after our grand daughter.

Managed to win the six vase class and a few others, the single bloom is Bravoure quite a nice 1w/y.
The top photo is top to bottom left to right. Achduart,Estrella, Privateer,Golden Aura,Gold Finger and

Cutting flowers for flower shows

We try to get members to cut their flowers early for shows but many do not think this is possible so I thought I would show how I manage now that we live in a flat and all my flowers are grown on the allotment some 3/4 mile away. The top picture are flowers cut ready for Saturday's show at Bidborough , today is Wednesday, the lower picture are the flowers I used last Saturday at Pembury, they where nearly all cut the previous Sunday as we were going away for a couple of days. Some of the lower ones may be used again this Saturday.

ready to start begonias

I have just got my begonia corms out ready to start. I would if I had some heat etc. have done this some time ago but now I have to make the best I can. Some of these tubers are over 25 years old.

start of the New Year

 Nice sprouts now forming on my seed potatoes but not sure when the ground will dry out enough to think of planting

 Bought some seed potatoes yesterday so have laid them out ready for sprouting. Picked sprouts and purple sprouting this morning on the allotment also managed to weed daffodils ready for a feed of Vitax Q4.This picture was taken mid January


my new plot

When I took these first two photos I had just been given another plot on the allotments last spring so I thought I would try and show what I do with it as it is in a rather poor state at the moment, so I start with a picture before I do anything. I think the previous owner had seen a television programme about raised beds and had put a lot of wooden surrounds in but no extra soil?

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The next two photos show my allotment plot 12 months later